School Gothic

June 7, 2010

This poem first appeared in a Facebook note titled “A Poem on the Occasion of a School Barber’s Retirement after 32 Years” on 7 June 2010.

School Gothic
(For S. T. Raju)

In my mind, the role of Freud is
already taken. Down a flight
of stone-sided stairs, the red bricks
mark a slightly angled passage
right into a pool of blue light.
Here a schoolgirl is learning kicks.

But not before the mind shuts down
for three seconds. Don’t acknowledge
the shadowed realm and, at its end,
a lit room, some piles of comics,
a boy’s hair lost before his age,
a smirking barber, blade in hand.

Gwee Li Sui

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